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Would you book a cruise online?


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Got chatting to some friends last night about booking a holiday and before we knew it we'd made plans and booked flights. It was a conversation that lasted an hour or so and a booking process that took less than ten minutes. Got me thinking about booking a cruise online. I've done a fair few cruises now so I can honestly say I would feel comfortable choosing preferences etc but I'm not sure I would want to.

 

I see most cruise lines now offer the ability to book direct on their websites and some agents do the same but would you book your cruise online or do you prefer the comfort of a telephone conversation or a visit in person?

 

It's such a strange thought that I think nothing of purchasing most things online, and I also think nothing of booking flights, even overall holiday packages but yet when it comes to booking a cruise, I still prefer that personal touch. I don't know what it is about it but I just do. Does anyone else feel the same?

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Got chatting to some friends last night about booking a holiday and before we knew it we'd made plans and booked flights. It was a conversation that lasted an hour or so and a booking process that took less than ten minutes. Got me thinking about booking a cruise online. I've done a fair few cruises now so I can honestly say I would feel comfortable choosing preferences etc but I'm not sure I would want to.

 

I see most cruise lines now offer the ability to book direct on their websites and some agents do the same but would you book your cruise online or do you prefer the comfort of a telephone conversation or a visit in person?

 

It's such a strange thought that I think nothing of purchasing most things online, and I also think nothing of booking flights, even overall holiday packages but yet when it comes to booking a cruise, I still prefer that personal touch. I don't know what it is about it but I just do. Does anyone else feel the same?

I'm with you Portside I prefer the personal touch, I don't particularly like booking over the telephone either, albeit I have in the past and will again if necessary.

But face to face booking with a travel agent or cruise specialist is more often than not a little more expensive than it is online, but I feel more at ease should a problem arise that I can go to them personally rather than enchanging endless back and forth emails with someone I've never even spoken too.

HLM.

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For me this would depend on the cruise line and the deal on offer. If it was P&O for example then yes I would. I have been with P&O now enough to know what I like and I know enough about the pricing options to be comfortable booking it online. The same would apply for Celebrity Cruises. I would not however book a cruise online if it was the first time I had cruised with that cruise line. In that case, yes I would spend a lot of time online researching the cruise line so I had a good idea of what I was looking for but I would want to speak to someone to clarify a few things and to make sure I was getting the best deal possible. 

 

Having said all that, even though I would book online, and wouldn't hesitate for the aforementioned cruise lines, I still never do. I always book via the phone or in person. This is because my trusted agent is Bolsover and at present, unless I'm mistaken,  they do not offer customers the option to book online so I go in and book in person if I've got the time or give them a call.

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I'm with you Portside I prefer the personal touch, I don't particularly like booking over the telephone either, albeit I have in the past and will again if necessary.

But face to face booking with a travel agent or cruise specialist is more often than not a little more expensive than it is online, but I feel more at ease should a problem arise that I can go to them personally rather than enchanging endless back and forth emails with someone I've never even spoken too.

HLM.

 

I'm fine with most things online, it's just cruising that I prefer to have that personal touch with. I just find the whole process of booking a cruise much more reassuring when done in person or talking to someone over the phone rather than, as you say, exchanging emails with someone.

 

I'm in total agreement that I too always feel so much more at ease when booking this way and confident that if a problem occurs, it will be dealt with more efficiently. Obviously that may not be the case but it's just how I've always done it and I'm sure it's how I'll continue to do it in the future.

 

As for price point. I actually have found that I get an equivalent offer or even better when I've booked in person or over the phone so that part has never concerned me too much. The only time I've ever seen a big difference in price is when I went to book a package holiday to Cyprus a few years ago with Thomas Cook. In my the branch on the high street I was given a price that was significantly higher than the same holiday was online but when I raised that point with them, they said they would match it anyway so it seemed pointless. It actually annoyed me that they didn't just give me the better price anyway and made me frustrated that had I not known better I would have ended up paying over the odds. That's the only time that has happened though and I always make sure to check online prices now first before committing in person.

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Hi  I have booked cruises with both agents and the cruise line.  The last cruise I went on I requested Bolsover to price a single cabin  (which was advertised as carrying no single supplement on a flyer from the cruise line).  Bolsover priced the cruise at a double occupancy rate, saying this the lowest price available.  I contacted the cruise line directly and was offered the cruise  with no supplement.  It shows that booking though an agent doesn't always offer the best value and so it's worth shopping around.

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I have booked both ways.  I usually do mock bookings on line to get the best price, then when I know exactly what the options are I call a few travel agents to see if they can do better for me.  Sometimes they can, in which case I book with them, sometimes I go with the online deal.  I have never asked a travel agent for recommendations, or to do any extra work for me.  By the time I book, I have everything lined up - flights, hotels, car hire etc, so if I use an agent it is for the cruise only.  Putting a 24 hour hold on a cabin lets me set everything up, and if it all works out right I can firm up the booking.

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You can't haggle online..it's amazing what incentives you can get it you push hard enough when speaking to an agent.

Although it is getting harder with tips, drinks OBC etc included in the headline price.

They have a built in loss and an agent can drop some of their commission.

Better a small amount than none at all.

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I use both methods, depending on the date of the cruise and the offer available. Like member smtcan and I am sure other members I also do dummy bookings to try and see the best price.  Sometimes the Travel agent will forgo some of their commission or sometimes I believe the Travel Agent has a special offer with the Cruise Line and is available to offer a better discount. When booking on line I usually also use a Cash back website to obtain the web link  to the company, usually getting at least 4% discount on a few of the main cruise lines. 

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I do dummy bookings as others have mentioned as part of finding the best price. I also phone different agents with whom I've had dealings with in the past, to see what they can offer.

 

In the end though when I am ready to book, I get the deck plans up on my laptop, phone my chosen agent and book the best cabin available of the grade I have chosen.

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I would much prefer to book online! I don't always trust hearing what someone has said over the phone. I like to see everything in black and white and a figure on a screen. I don't book very expensive cruises (because I can't afford it) so I never get much discount from an agent, £10 if ever. I wish Bolsover had a system which I could book online with.

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I would much prefer to book online! I don't always trust hearing what someone has said over the phone. I like to see everything in black and white and a figure on a screen. I don't book very expensive cruises (because I can't afford it) so I never get much discount from an agent, £10 if ever. I wish Bolsover had a system which I could book online with.

The only problem by booking online is 'what you see is what you get' there's no negotiation, I like others do get an online price which to be fair they are generally a little bit cheaper, but when you take that price to the agent they do mostly match it, but the real gain for me is that should a problem arise I can just go instore and get it resolved, whereas online it can be difficult sorting things by back and forth emails which is generally the case.

HLM.

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The only problem by booking online is 'what you see is what you get' there's no negotiation, I like others do get an online price which to be fair they are generally a little bit cheaper, but when you take that price to the agent they do mostly match it, but the real gain for me is that should a problem arise I can just go instore and get it resolved, whereas online it can be difficult sorting things by back and forth emails which is generally the case.

HLM.

 

I am a really easy customer. I'm really laid back, often go for the late saver deals. I don't mind where I am or what dining I get. I haven't had any problems and been sailing with P&O for 20 years. I understand other people have particular requests but I really don't mind as long as I am on the ship! I feel confident that if I had a problem I could deal with P&O myself.

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Yes i always think if you book with an agent it's easier to resolve any issues if you have a query on your booking. Saying that i've just booked a package holiday online but if i was booking something more complicated or a multi-centre holiday i'd definitely do over the phone.

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I'm fine with most things online, it's just cruising that I prefer to have that personal touch with. I just find the whole process of booking a cruise much more reassuring when done in person or talking to someone over the phone rather than, as you say, exchanging emails with someone.

 

I'm in total agreement that I too always feel so much more at ease when booking this way and confident that if a problem occurs, it will be dealt with more efficiently. Obviously that may not be the case but it's just how I've always done it and I'm sure it's how I'll continue to do it in the future.

 

As for price point. I actually have found that I get an equivalent offer or even better when I've booked in person or over the phone so that part has never concerned me too much. The only time I've ever seen a big difference in price is when I went to book a package holiday to Cyprus a few years ago with Thomas Cook. In my the branch on the high street I was given a price that was significantly higher than the same holiday was online but when I raised that point with them, they said they would match it anyway so it seemed pointless. It actually annoyed me that they didn't just give me the better price anyway and made me frustrated that had I not known better I would have ended up paying over the odds. That's the only time that has happened though and I always make sure to check online prices now first before committing in person.

This happened to me last year too when I booked a holiday to Las Vegas. First saw the deal online, went into my local Virgin branch who quoted me more, when I said it was cheaper online she checked her system and said it wasnt that much cheaper and would match it. I was certain this was still more than I had seen online, got my phone out to check and was much less online even though the lady was apparently matching the online price. Very naughty!

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I am a really easy customer. I'm really laid back, often go for the late saver deals. I don't mind where I am or what dining I get. I haven't had any problems and been sailing with P&O for 20 years. I understand other people have particular requests but I really don't mind as long as I am on the ship! I feel confident that if I had a problem I could deal with P&O myself.

I would agree, if you know what you want and have no real preferences booking online is a good option, not for me personally but I can see the benefits, and I dear say in the not to distant future almost everything will be done online.

HLM.

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